THE RUN -- DEEP LITTER OR NOT???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by #1California Chick, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    I am trying to plan ahead to the coop/run that I will be building in the next couple of months (it doesn't get so cold here in California Bay area). I am planning on starting with 4-8 chickens to start!! (Day old chicks in Jan or Feb) I am also a Master Gardener -- so the poop/litter is a great present!!

    I will absolutely go with deep litter in the coop. However, my question is: does using the deep litter method in the run make sense (if I can rake it out once or twice a year)??? I thought that I might start a little "patch" with compost, grass seeds, etc that will be the "future" run.

    Due to hawks in my area, my hens will probably not be able to free range.

    What do you think?

    Thanks!!!

    Cindy
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  2. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    Most people do not use litter in the run. I do not use the deep liter method. I live in Florida and I find that it creates a smell. Its easier for us to just clean the coop once a month or so and put the litter on the compost pile. My runs unfortunately are mostly sand own. We are not supposed to let our chickens freerange but lately we have been letting the old chickens freerange some. Our problem with freeranging is that we live adjacent to a wildlife management area and they don't want the chickens loose. But what they don't know won't hurt them lol a few old hens roaming our property will not harm the enviroment any. Hope this helps. Oh yeah if you can grow grass or something in your run area they will love it but it won't last long lol
     
  3. Sissy

    Sissy Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,764
    11
    191
    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    I use deep litter and started with 2 bags of wood shavings and a sprinkle of Permectrin powder before i put down the shavings and have had no fly or lice problem and clean out the coop 2x year. Sept. and Mar. also have a run which after they tore up all the grass LOL
    I pour down play sand every so often. and have the run covered . for safety from pests .
    but am planning a new run as soon as weather permits. I lived in
    Orange county CA. for a few years now in Tn
     
  4. omelette'smom

    omelette'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

    452
    0
    129
    Sep 9, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Permectrin? Do tell more!! I do deep litter in the coop and in the run they tore apart a hay bale that i keep raking into a pile at one end and they keep tearing it apart! Should i get rid of it? It's dry![​IMG]
     
  5. blueskylen

    blueskylen Chillin' With My Peeps

    682
    2
    151
    Mar 3, 2008
    WV
    i tried a few things, but what worked for me in WV ( can be wet at times ) was a few inches of gravel covered with sand. the gravel lets the water seep out, and the sand dries quickly and can be raked. I also add some more sand , stall dry and DE occasionally and there is virtually no smell at all. the chickens seem to like it, as it is an easy dust bath for them.

    editted to add that their run is covered all the time with roof tarps in summer, and completely covered except for the ends in winter - keeps it all from getting wet and freezing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  6. Sissy

    Sissy Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,764
    11
    191
    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    I would clear out the run and just put down some play sand every so often, the Permectrin I bought at Tractor supply for 8.00 and one can of powder is enough for about 200 chickens i also toss a handfull of the powder into their nest once every 2 months.I have wire covering the run and dont allow free range
    to many dangers. They love dustbathing in the play sand.
    one bag last a long time.2 will last even longer.

    Or if Permactrin is unavailable I use Sevin garden dust works great.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  7. JOEFARMER

    JOEFARMER New Egg

    2
    0
    6
    Dec 12, 2008
    What is Permactrin or Sevin garden dust what does it do?

    I use wood shavings and have a grate with a pan in the roost full of the shavings. I do have a fly problem in the summer, with just two chickens, so I clean out the coop every few weeks or sooner during the warmer fly season. will the above help with this?[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    102
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You probably oughtn't use deep litter *shavings* in the run, because they will hold a lot of moisture and rapidly turn into mud and stench.

    A deep bed of less-absorbant organic material is sometimes used in a run, though. Often it's weedings, etc that are on their way to the compost pile and get 'processed through' the chicken yard to let 'em be picked thru for edibles and enriched with nitrogen-rich poo. When it starts to get worn-out and less interesting to the chickens, or when it gets partially composted down, or if it should start to take on flies or odor, it gets removed wholesale to the compost pile and you start over with fresh stuff for the run. You would not want to do this in damp conditions, or with damp materials, that might create molds, though.

    I've started doing this in my small plastic-covered-for-winter 'blonde chickens' run, and have been hppy with it so far, but can't speak to its long-term use. Plenty of other people do it though so it certainly might work well for you.

    I would not put permectrin or sevin or DE into anything meant for the garden, though. They will kill the small invertebrates and bugs that you *want* there, and in the case of DE this may persist since DE doesn't really break down. I don't use anything like that b/c I figure the stuff periodically gets totally removed and thus is unlikely to build up a population of mites, lice, etc. If a mite or louse problem appeared, I would treat the chickens and coop, remove the run material to the compost pile, then let the run sit 'open' with some DE or sumpin' on it for a few weeks or months... and then just begin again with new organic matter, again with nothing added. JMHO of course,

    Have fun,

    Pat
     
  9. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    11,199
    45
    311
    Oct 2, 2008
    Colorado
    The humidity of your area will effect your choice. I am in Colorado and it's pretty dry out here. The pen area I am preparing for my ducks has a thick layer of mulched maple leaves covering it right now. I may have to change what covers the pen once I have the ducks, but because of our dry climate, I think it will be ok.
     
  10. Lea71

    Lea71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi there.....here's what I do. In the coop (8'X8') I use pine shavings (and I use DE, keeps the odor down and dries things out). I remove about 1/2 of the shavings every couple of months and replace with new stuff. Definitely look into whether or not DE is right for you. Then in the run (18'X6') I use a bale of straw which covers the dirt. I rake them up about every 6 months and replace. They love new straw, they have that thing fluffed up in a day....all kinds of tasy goodies hiding in the straw. I have the run covered with clear plastic in the winter so the straw doesn't get too wet. Hope this gives you some ideas....there are some great options out there.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by